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    Category: At The Checkout

    The customer has seemed normal and maybe even intelligent throughout the shopping purchase. But then they get to the checkout and as soon as human interaction is required it all falls apart. The checkout operators really are our first line of defense against the stupid customer!

    A Sign Of Things To Come

    | New Zealand | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I’m on my very first day of in-store training, going over the basics of what is done. My boss mentions that no matter how big or how close to your heads the signs are, customers will always ask us something that’s written on the signs.)

    Me: “They can’t really be that dense. Can they?”

    Boss: “You’d be surprised.”

    (A customer comes up to the counter just then and my boss takes over, as I don’t know my job well enough to serve yet.)

    Customer: “Hi. Can I put down a deposit for [game]?”

    Boss: “Sure thing!”

    Customer: “Great! When does it come out?”

    (There is a poster for this game literally ten centimeters to the right of his head hanging from the ceiling with the release date on it in emboldened letters, just like each of the ten posters for this game hung throughout the store.)

    Boss: “[Date].”

    Customer: “Oh, cool. Also, how much is [upcoming major console]?”

    (There is a very large wall poster for this console directly behind him, amidst a display of boxes for this console that also has the price in very large numbers.)

    Boss: “Console will be [price], though we’ve pre-sold out of the first two shipments.”

    Customer: “Okay, thanks a bunch!” *leaves*

    Me: “… That did not just happen.”

    Boss: “Get used to it. It happens.”

    Calculated Customer Service

    | USA | At The Checkout, Math & Science

    (I have just finished processing a customer’s transaction. Her total comes up to $22 and some change. She gives me a $50 bill. I have already typed in $50 as a cash payment. Once my till opens, she stops me.)

    Customer: “Okay, wait. Can I give you $2? I just don’t want to get a bunch of change back. This way, I’ll get $30 back.”

    Me: “Okay. Sure.”

    (I add in the $2, give her $30 back and then 21 cents, which is what the register tells me I should give her.)

    Customer: “Wow! That was really fast! You must be really smart! You calculated that all by yourself!”

    Me: “Well, it wasn’t too difficult! I just added the $2, so I ended up giving you $30 back, and then I gave you back 21 cents, which was what the computer screen told me to give you back in the first place.”

    Customer: “Wow! Okay!”

    (She walks away, takes her purchase with her and leaves the store, amazed at my ‘fast’ calculation.)

    Almost About To Lose It

    | Maple Grove, MN, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

    (I have just been assigned a new hire to shadow me on the registers when a customer with two heaping carts walks up to my register. I give her a friendly greeting, but she ignores me and starts piling her things (mostly $2-$3 clearance children’s clothes) on the counter. After I finish scanning the entire pile, she begins to scrutinize the screen which shows her the items she’s buying, including the prices and total.)

    Customer: “How much is it?”

    Me: “$150, ma’am.”

    Customer: “That’s too much. Start over.”

    (By this point, I had already spent more than ten minutes scanning her items.)

    Me: *surprised* “Start over? I could just take off what you don’t want instead.”

    Customer: “No. Scan it again. Start over.”

    (The customer then starts digging through the pile, alternately throwing things at me, on the floor, and in several disorganized heaps on the counter. I void out the first transaction and reach for one of the piles to begin scanning again, but she slaps my hand away. After a while, she shoves a few shirts into my face, and then grabs them away when I move to scan them. Eventually, after another fifteen minutes, I have a pile of scanned items that she seems to approve of.)

    Customer: “Here, I don’t want these either.”

    (She throws still more items from the bottom of her cart at me. At this point, my bin for rejected items has long since overflowed, and the pile beside it is threatening to tumble over. Finally satisfied, the customer presents a coupon that doesn’t start until the next day.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. That coupon starts tomorrow, and I’m not allowed to accept it early. If you like, you could bring your receipt in tomorrow to get it adjusted.”

    Customer: “Don’t bother. Just hold it until tomorrow for me.” *begins to walk away*

    Me: *calling after her* “Ma’am! I’ll need your name to put it on hold!”

    Customer: *storming back* “FINE! It’s [Name]! You’d better not lose all that! I spent a lot of time finding it all!”

    Me: “Of course not, ma’am. It will be waiting for you at customer service. Have a nice day.”

    Customer: “Whatever.” *marches out the door*

    Me: *to new hire* “I think I need to take my break now. I’ll have you shadow [other cashier] until I get back.”

    New Hire: “Does that happen a lot here?”

    Me: “Unfortunately, far more than it should.”

    Putting Themselves Into A Sticky Spot

    | Bismarck, ND, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Liars & Scammers, Theme Of The Month

    Customer: “I’d like to return this game.”

    (He hands me a sports title, which is several years old.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept open game returns, particularly games purchased at a competing store.”

    Customer: “I purchased the d*** thing here!”

    Me: “I’m afraid you didn’t. We don’t open games and put [competing company]‘s stickers on the cases.”

    Customer: “Well, why the f*** not?”

    Deaf To Reason, Part 2

    , | Darwin, NT, Australia | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Pets & Animals

    (I am at a supermarket checkout.)

    Me: “Hey, there! How are you this eveni—”

    Customer: “You realise there’s a man in here with a dog, right?”

    Me: “Oh? Maybe it’s a guide dog or something?”

    Customer: “No, no! It doesn’t have the guide dog harness! Really! The beast is sticking its nose in the fresh bread!”

    (She proceeds to point over my shoulder, and I decide to look. To my amusement, it is a man who had come to my primary school when I was younger, to teach us about dogs that help people with hearing issues.)

    Me: “Actually, I know that guy. The dog is actually there to help him because of his hearing being—”

    Customer: “I don’t CARE what the dog is there for! It’s not a guide dog and needs to be removed! If you’re not going to help, call your manager, please!”

    (Exasperated and a bit peeved at the customer’s behaviour, I grudgingly do so while she defiantly hold up the line.)

    Manager: “What seems to be the problem?”

    Customer: “That MAN over there has brought some flea-ridden dog in here while he’s shopping! Get him out of here at once!”

    Me: “I tried to explain to her it’s a hearing aid dog, but she’s not listening.”

    Customer: “I was listening you little cretin! Hearing aid dogs don’t—”

    Manager: “Actually they do, and this man is well known for coming through with his dog to help with his shopping. The kids love him, we love him, and you just appear to want to deny that for sake of argument.”

    Customer: “How DARE you! I’m a paying customer!”

    (By this point my manager asked her to pay her due and leave. She does… only to come back in and flat out abuse the guy for making HER look like a fool. Cops had to be called for her to be removed.)

    Related:
    Deaf To Reason


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